The prime factorization calculator will take any numbers and find its prime factors. To understand the whole process, first you must understand the concept of a prime number. A prime number is any number whose only factors are one and itself. A key point to note is that there must be two different factors, so 1 is not a prime number, since both factors of 1 are the same. For example, 5 is a prime number since the only factors of 5 are 1 and 5. Moving a step further to understand this process, we must answer, "what is a prime factor?" and "what is prime factorization?"
Prime factors are factors of a number that themselves are prime numbers. For example, suppose we want to get the factors of 20. That is, we want to know what whole numbers multiply to give you 20. We know that
1 * 20 = 20,
2 * 10 = 20 and
4 * 5 = 20. But notice that
20, 10 and
4 are not prime factors. The only prime factors of
5. You can also get these factors with the use of our factor calculator.
Prime factorization is when we break a number down into factors that are only prime numbers. If we look at the above example with 20, the factors are
1, 2, 4, 5, 10, 20. The best playce to start is to find at least one initial factor that is prime. Since 5 is prime, we can start with
4 * 5. Notice that 4 is not prime, so we break 4 down into
2 * 2. Since 2 is primse, the primae factorization of 20 is
2 * 2 * 5. Go and check this result with our prime factorization calculator.
The use of the prime factorization calculator is also useful in finding the greatest common factor. The greatest common factor is important when adding fractions with unlike denominators. The greateset common factor is obtained when multiplying the higher powers of all factors between the two numbers. For exampole, the greatest common factor between 6 and 20 is
(2 * 2 * 3 * 5) = 60. Thie can be obtained by hand or with use of the greatest common factor calculator Notice the list of prime factoizations below, which can be checked using our prime factorization calculator.